Since 1989, Manatee PAL has been serving our community by providing athletic and academic programs to kids in our area. PAL’s mission is to bring law enforcement, kids and families together in a positive, safe environment through sports and academics to build a strong community. PAL combines the mentoring and guidance of law enforcement officers with athletic and academic pursuits.
Today many youth live in neighborhoods threatened by gangs, drugs, violence and poverty. The Sheriff’s Office reports that the most prevalent youth crimes are assault, burglary & vandalism. However, studies show that youth engaged with law enforcement officers and mentors are less likely to become involved in these types of crime.
PAL provides a safe place, where athletic and academic programs instill pride, responsibility, self-confidence, teamwork and respect. Our programs help build leadership, confidence, character, relational connection, personal competence and capacity for contribution to others. As a result of these activities, kids experience improved adult relationships, enhanced social skills, decision-making success and better leisure time choices will be achieved. All qualities that are necessary to prepare youth for the challenges of childhood and adolescence as they progress to successful adulthood.
Staying involved in positive activities with law enforcement officers helps prevent kids from latch-key syndrome or being lured into joining gangs.
The physical and psychosocial benefits of youth sport involvement are well recognized. Physical activity facilitates cardiovascular fitness, weight control, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and healthy bone structure. Findings presented in the journal, ‘Athletic Insight,’ show that active youth maintain physical activity habits in adulthood; and active youth are less likely to develop numerous diseases later in life, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and cancer.
Further, sport experiences often foster citizenship, social success, positive peer relationships, leadership skills, and a sense of initiative in youth. Youth sport involvement has been positively correlated with adult career achievement and reductions with school dropout and delinquent behavior.
PAL is not just for troubled kids…it’s for all kids! Every child can benefit from an environment where they are physically and mentally encouraged to reach their full potential. That’s our motto, “Putting kids first.”